An Extensive Guide to Messaging App Development



Pradeep Kunwar

The need of the hour is to establish some efficient and scalable routes of communications. As per the current scenario of the markets, it demands hierarchical solidarity in a company for it to excel. And as per the understanding of every digital need of an entrepreneur, we have prepared an extensive guide to messaging app development.

Our research encircled all the possible answers that might have been encountered in your mind at some point in time. So let’s start with some quintessential steps in every business and market analysis.

Market Analysis:

Have you ever thought of building messaging apps despite the fact that there are many messaging apps floating across the market?

Always remember that there’s always a big scope in the market. Now, present some data to back this statement.

If we consider the famous WhatsApp messenger to understand the potential of the market, a mere number of users will prove how popular messenger apps are. In July 2017 itself, it had one billion users daily. In the year 2019, the number of WhatsApp has 1.5billion users. that WhatsApp users send 65 billion messages.

What do these numbers indicate?

The numbers are indicating a Tremendous potential in this market. Think about this. Such applications set a medium to express. Nowadays, people are trying to explore the world by connecting with humans across boundaries through digital devices. We want to share our views, opinions, and talents with others and a customized messenger app further enriches the global conversation. Today, users tend to use more than one messenger application on their digital devices. Your idea through a messaging app can add value to their interaction. Also, with innovative ideas, you can gradually improve your app simultaneously.

But before you jump right into it, collect information and set realistic business goals because once you know what to expect from a venture, finding a way becomes easier.

Essential Functionalities:

Real-time chat functionality helps users easily connect with others at the time they want. That connection depends on some core functionalities like:

  • Registration and Authorization – A user can set up an account and then integrate his messenger profile with his social media profile. The process of authorization of the profile can be done through social media, mobile number, or email. In a typical messaging app, a database is for storing profiles, chat history, etc. It needs to support replication and backups.
  • Contact Importing – An app that can scan all the contacts of a user and empower them to import to a server. With it, you can allow users to import their contacts from social media as well.
  • Instant messages – It has always been considered one of the core features of any messenger app. One of many users can connect in person or join the group chat on the app. Most of the messenger apps made today provide delivery notification of the message which allows users to keep a track of all the messages. You can deliver a competitive edge to your app by adding multiple innovative features. You can take a cue from the ideas like messages that tend to self-delete after a time limit or even something as basic as un-sending or deleting a sent message. But always ensure to include the basic features like enabling a group admin to add or delete members in a group chat and make other members admins as well.

Telegram, for instance, has a feature where a group admin has the authority to restrict the number of messages a group member can send. Technically speaking, all these features depend on the architecture of the messaging app. The later part of this post deals with the architecture and technical considerations in detail.

  • Voice and video calls – In the year 2015, WeChat introduced a feature where the users were empowered to place voice and video calls on the messenger. ( Nowadays, most messenger apps have this feature and we have also started to take this feature for granted. Without any uncertainty, users have been appreciating this feature in the messenger app.
  • Multimedia sharing – GIFs and images have become the most usual way to express users. Even with a general setup, sharing important and useful multimedia files has become quintessential.
  • Photo and basic video editing – While sharing an image, if a user can edit it, crop, or enhance it, he/she will not have to repeatedly use the other app and, ultimately, increase the usage time. For instance, WhatsApp allows its users to edit the pictures as well as edit the length of a video before sharing it.
  • Geo-location tracking can improve the user experience as a user and will be able to send, share, and explore his location.

Technical Considerations-

  • Programming language – To give strength to your server-side implementation, you should opt for the most optimal programming language. Today, there are multiple programming languages, so you need to invest some time and do extensive research before you make the decision. The popular server-side programming languages and frameworks include PHP, ASP.NET, Java, Ruby, Perl, and Python. To respond to client requests via HTTP, these scripts run on a web server. That is how these programming scripts deliver dynamic content to the user.
  • Storing data – Every messenger app has to store chats at some frequent intervals and there are two ways to perform this task. This history can be either stored in the cloud or on a user’s mobile device. For instance, Telegram stores chat history in the cloud. In the cloud, the messages are available every time even when a user changes a device. The only problem with the cloud is some extra investment on your side. On the other hand, if the chat history is stored on a user’s digital device, though it occupies the storage, no extra expenses are required. In the architecture of a messaging app, file storage, a database cluster, a key-value cache cluster, and a time-series database are used for storing different kinds of information to ensure a properly functioning app.
  • Communication Protocols – It’s one of the basic components in the app development process. Q certain set of rules is included in some communication protocols that allow two or more devices to exchange data in real-time. Actually, the message flow relies on these rules. You can evaluate the protocols like Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol; the same is also used by the messenger app WhatsApp. This entirely decentralized protocol makes WhatsApp secure. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) or WebSockets can also be used for security.
  • Security – TLS/SSL protocols for client-server connections can greatly increase security through data integration. The robust back-end support is quintessential for any messenger app, irrespective of its functionality, as it has to process and store a lot of data. It is possible to add an extra layer of security through two-factor authentication and by assigning pins certificated to digital devices. A private network for infrastructure deployment and private file object storage for each chat ensures safety and security. WhatsApp’s partnership with the Open Whispers system resulted in an end-to-end encryption system that secures the communication happening inside the app. While WhatsApp uses a third-party provider, Telegram has created its in-house encryption protocol. Every week or after users have sent a certain number of messages, cryptographic keys are changed. It simply implies that even if one message is intercepted, other messages will stay secure. Thus, a single message cannot be used to decrypt all the messages.
  • Architectural Patterns – the server-side software architecture promptly delivers messages and supports message synchronization across multiple devices.

App Development-

It rightly starts with a question like whether you want to build a react native or cross-platform app to design UX/UI for your app , the process will demand perseverance.

Even if you want to go with your vision and integrate all the functionalities as per your plan, you will have to work frequently to make it better in the future. We all are acquainted with the unprecedented rate at which technology is innovating. Then it won’t be surprising to see more updates in a short span. For example, natural language processing is already possible in the current time. When Google’s API recognizes 120 languages and dialects, Cognitive Services from Microsoft Azure claim to excel at translations.

Furthermore, you require a marketing strategy that will highlight your app’s specialty and target the right set of audiences. Once the app is launched, you can get feedback from the users and eventually make improvements if required.

In the end, with the help of informed market analysis, you can transform your vision into your ground results. As we have seen, there are multiple factors to consider and choices to go for.

So, first and foremost. comprehend the entire process and then move forward one step at a time. Your innovative ideas will certainly help you to achieve and develop a unique messaging app. All you need to do is learn from the best but think out of the box. Rather than being intimidated by the apps that already exist in the market, be inspired by their success because you need courage and clarity of thoughts to help the world connect better.

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